I was cleaning out some boxes the other day, and I found my old heart rate monitor. Coincidentally, I have been reading some posts about aerobic training at the Natural Running Center website. So, I decided to try out the monitor on a run using the Maffetone heart rate formula (180 – age).
I found that I would quickly go over the recommended heart rate when running at a normal clip. After having to stop a few times, I tried run at a much slower pace to keep my heart rate down. While this was successful in keeping the heart rate down, the motion felt unnatural and seemed to beat me up more than if I were running at a normal speed.
I also just read a new study that showed the metatarsals can possibly get overloaded with too much slow running.
Overall, I would then conclude that if a lower heart rate is the goal, it would be better to run at a normal pace and then walk when needed, rather than running continuously at a very slow pace.
Whether this works or not in practice, I don't know! I will test it out this weekend.